media
May 01, 2015

NYSUT honors members for professional excellence and leadership

Source: NYSUT Media Relations
awards 2015

NYSUT is honoring members for professional excellence and leadership at the 2015 Representative Assembly May 1-2 in Buffalo, New York.

Media advisories follow. More information will available online at nysut.org/awards during the convention, including videos.


Harborfields TA Annie McClintock receives NYSUT award

BUFFALO, N.Y. May 1, 2015 — Annie McClintock of Greenlawn received the School-Related Professional of the Year Award, one of NYSUT's highest honors, at the union's 43rd Representative Assembly in Buffalo.

McClintock is a teaching assistant at the Harborfields School District. For the past 15 years, she has worked with students with special needs in classrooms from kindergarten through grade 12. She has also served as president of the United Teaching Assistants of Harborfields since 2003.

In 2004 when the state began requiring paraprofessionals to take college courses to become certified teaching assistants, McClintock played a major role in helping her colleagues make that transition. To ease the financial burden of the new requirements, she researched, applied for and succeeded in obtaining thousands of dollars in grant monies the members used to earn the credits needed to meet the certification mandates. She also continues to coordinate with NYSUT to host the undergraduate courses at the union's Suffolk Regional Office in Hauppauge and to encourage members within and outside her local to take the classes offered through NYSUT's Education and Learning Trust. Through her efforts, McClintock has helped 138 SRPs in Nassau and Suffolk counties earn more than 400 undergraduate credits.

"Annie took the initiative to ensure her colleagues had the opportunity to obtain professional development courses and gain the college credits needed to maintain their employment," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "Her unselfish efforts on their behalf reflect extraordinary commitment and dedication to her work and to her union."

McClintock's activism on behalf of SRPs goes beyond her worksite. She has served on NYSUT's SRP Advisory Committee for the past six years. She helped form and continues to serve on the Regional SRP Committee in Suffolk County. In 2008, she was instrumental in creating a districtwide New Teaching Assistant Mentoring Program. She is a 2010 graduate of NYSUT's Leadership Institute.

McClintock is also active in the Harborfields community, volunteering every Monday with the Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative and participating in the annual Town of Huntington Beach cleanups and other neighborhood improvement projects.

"Annie is widely respected for consistently going above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of her students, her co-workers and her community," said NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale. "She exemplifies the best of all our school-related professionals who make our schools work, day in and day out."

More than 2,100 NYSUT delegates, guests and staff are in Buffalo attending the union's annual policy-making convention, underway Friday through Saturday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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NYSUT honors London, Wishnia as Higher Ed Members of the Year

BUFFALO, N.Y. May 1, 2015 — New York State United Teachers today honored Steve London, an associate professor of political science and vice president of the Professional Staff Congress, and Judith Wishnia, a retired professor and founder of the women's studies program at Stony Brook University, as the union's 2015 NYSUT Higher Education Members of the Year.

London, a Brooklyn resident, has served as vice president of PSC, the union representing faculty and professionals at the City University of New York, since 2000. He served as PSC's Brooklyn College chair from 1993 to 2000, as part of a long union career building coalitions, engaging legislators and fighting for better pay and working conditions for his colleagues at CUNY. He is retiring this year.

Wishnia, a resident of Setauket on Long Island, has long been an active member of United University Professions, the union representing academic and professional faculty at the State University of New York. Wishnia served on UUP's statewide executive board and on its negotiating teams. Since 2005, she has served as chair of UUP's Active Retired Membership Committee and has long been an advocate for women's issues and social justice.

NYSUT President Karen E. Magee said: "For 35 years, Steve London has led his colleagues in building effective coalitions that benefit CUNY students, and CUNY's faculty and staff. Steve has always 'gotten things done,' and now leaves PSC with a stronger foundation to grow in the future."

Magee called Wishnia a "trailblazer who, through a long and distinguished career, fights for social justice as a unionist, as a feminist and as a scholar. She has worked tirelessly for the betterment of SUNY, its students, UUP and the communities where she has lived. Judy is a shining example of someone who does more than 'talk the talk,' she clearly 'walks the walk.'"

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.


NYSUT honors Donesa Jackson and Pete McMahon as Retirees of the Year

BUFFALO, N.Y. May 1, 2015 — Donesa Jackson and Pete McMahon, who represent more than seven decades of dedicated labor activism, were honored as New York State United Teachers' 2015 Retirees of the Year during the union's 43rd annual Representative Assembly in Buffalo.

McMahon, a science teacher for nearly 40 years at Red Hook High School and a long-time past president and vice president for the Red Hook Faculty Association, is also a staunch political activist. He served as the Mid-Hudson VOTE-COPE coordinator from 1981 until 2014, and was a Political Action Committee member from the late 1980s until last year.

As a retiree, McMahon remains active, serving his third term as a member of the NYSUT Retiree Advisory Committee and, for nearly the last decade, as Retiree Council 13 treasurer.

"Political activism is the foundation of NYSUT's work and Pete epitomizes what one person can achieve when passion is combined with dedicated professionalism," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "The benefits our members enjoy today, particularly our many legislative wins, simply would not have been possible without people like Pete McMahon."

United Federation of Teachers retiree Donesa L. Jackson epitomizes the qualities that make NYSUT a strong union. A former education liaison at the Bronx Teacher Center, Jackson was a long-time chapter leader for P.S. 89 and a part-time pension consultant, and salary and licensing adviser at the UFT Bronx office.

Jackson remains active in retirement, serving as the UFT's retiree leader in the Orlando area of Orange and Seminole counties; on the Orlando Central Labor Council; regularly coordinating with the American Federation of Teachers/Florida Education Association locals on issues and campaigns; and establishing a local chapter of the Alliance for Retired Americans. Due to her activism and political leadership, Jackson was a 2012 elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

"The consistent support of members like Donesa, who've dedicated themselves to advancing the union movement, is an inspiration for us all," said Magee. "Donesa Jackson is a testament to the fact that today's active membership owes a large debt of gratitude to our retired members."

"Pete and Donesa's commitment to improving the lives of working families and to the labor movement is not limited to their professional lives — they continue to make that a focus of their life's work," added NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale. "Both represent the very best of our union."

More than 2,500 NYSUT delegates, guests and staff are in Buffalo attending the union's annual policy-making convention, which runs Friday and Saturday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.


Two Westchester County women honored as NYSUT's Health Care Professionals of the Year

BUFFALO, N.Y. May 1, 2015 — A school guidance counselor credited with helping expand the role of her profession and a registered nurse with nearly three decades of experience caring for patients have been named the New York State United Teachers Health Care Professionals of the Year.

Rosemarie Thompson, a United Federation of Teachers member and resident of Yonkers, was honored at NYSUT's annual Representative Assembly, held this weekend in Buffalo. Also honored was Barbara Wisdom, a Federation of Nurses/United Federation of Teachers member and care coordinator with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

"Rosemarie and Barbara's unyielding commitment to their professions, as well as to the students and patients they serve, underscores the professionalism that is a NYSUT hallmark," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "We are privileged to have them as members."

Thompson, a UFT guidance counselor chapter leader, is also president-elect of the New York State School Counseling Association. Recognized for her experience and leadership, Thompson is routinely sought out by colleagues. She is also a vocal advocate for those in her profession, lobbying regularly on behalf of her colleagues at legislative hearings and before the New York City Department of Education.

Wisdom, a native of Jamaica and now a Mount Vernon resident, is also an active unionist, having served in several key leadership posts, including delegate and vice chapter chairperson. She began her career with VNSNY in 1989, fulfilling what she has called her "lifelong goal" of becoming a nurse.

"The dedication, leadership and passion demonstrated by Rosemarie and Barbara day-in and day-out as they work to improve the lives of others is nothing short of inspiring," said NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale. "A union is only as strong as the hard work and commitment of its members, and both Rosemarie and Barbara epitomize the reason why NYSUT is as successful as it is."

NYSUT's annual policymaking convention, attended by 2,000 elected delegates, staff and guests, runs through Saturday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.


Veteran unionists feted with Feldman leadership award

BUFFALO, N.Y. May 1, 2015 — Two longtime union activists have been awarded the 2015 "Not for Ourselves Alone:" The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award at New York State United Teachers' annual Representative Assembly taking place this weekend in Buffalo.

Carmen Alvarez of Bayside, vice president of special education for the United Federation of Teachers, and Sheila Goldberg of Deer Park, president of Retiree Council 17 in Nassau County, were honored for their decades of service as educators and labor leaders. The "Not for Ourselves Alone Award" is named after the late Sandra Feldman, the one-time president of the UFT and, later, the American Federation of Teachers.

Also at the RA — which has brought nearly 2,000 delegates, guests and staff to Buffalo to debate and formulate union policy — Mary Wills of the Ogdensburg Education Association was awarded the 2015 Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant.

Alvarez, a member of NYSUT's Board of Directors since 1995, has been a strong voice in her union's efforts to improve education for children with disabilities and has worked closely with the State Education Department and the New York City Department of Education to develop policies that address local, state and national special education issues. She is also an expert in issues surrounding student behavior and has spent much of her career mentoring and supporting women in education and labor.

Goldberg, who retired from the Plainedge schools in 1992, is known throughout Long Island as a strong advocate for working people; not only those in the field of education but in all industries that need a voice in the fight for improved working conditions. She is a tireless organizer, a highly successful political action coordinator and a fixture at NYSUT's lobby days. In addition, Goldberg has helped raise more than $2 million as a volunteer with the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks, of which NYSUT is a flagship sponsor.

"I can't think of two women more deserving of an award named after Sandy Feldman," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "Their leadership, as well as their unwavering commitment to public education and political activism, has improved the lives of thousands of children and families for many years. This honor is much deserved."

Wills, her local's political action coordinator, will use the Feldman grant to further her union and leadership training through Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.